J.Crew isn't wasting any time expanding into Europe. The American retailer opened its first European store in London almost exactly a year ago and on Wednesday announced plans to open a fifth in the city, in addition to its first two stores in Paris.
A women's store will open in Paris's Marais neighborhood in March, to be followed by a men's store in the same neighborhood in September.
In London, a women's store is set to open on Marylebone High Street in the first quarter of next year.
The company's expansion into London has not been without setbacks: Customers there have been understandably upset about the fact that the retailer's prices in the UK are as much as 20 percent higher than those in the U.S. However, Chairman and CEO Mickey Drexler insists this can work in the company's favor. “Every [company] in the world prices differently country by country, and that just drives customers to buy more in their home market," he tells WWD. "Tourists will buy J. Crew in New York if they can."
The company does not have the best track record when it comes to international expansion: For instance, in the early aughts, J.Crew opened 70 stores in Japan with a partner only to pull out of the country in 2008. That being said, the company seems to be going about things less hastily this time around: It tested the British waters by selling through Net-a-Porter for three years before opening stores in the UK. Drexler told WWD that the company chose Paris next based on evidence of a solid French customer base shopping in J.Crew's U.S. stores, as well as online.
Plus, given the retailer's wide and consistent assortment of French-themed t-shirts and sweatshirts, it's fair to say that J.Crew has been a little obsessed with the country for some time.